What follows is a thorough retelling of my time overseas with Mom at the end of January 2006, starting with a photo gallery and ending with this day-by-day description of my travel activities.
Tags: blog, Freeport, not Bret Mason or Brent Mason
January 18 was not a Bahamas day, but it marked my departure from KY and the beginning of my trip to the Bahamas. I'm going to use this "day" to record my Bahamas observations overview for those of you who won't be able to endure the crushing boredom of reading the entries that follow this one.
1. In cyberspace, the domain code for Bahamas is ".BS"
2. Since their primary source of revenue is tourism, their economy is built firmly on overcharging tourists! On the other hand, I gotta say, I do like their $1 bus service, which sometimes feels more like a taxi service than a bus service.
3. To the several people on the island who interrupted my blissful wanderings to try to sell me a timeshare, I should have told them that my name is "Leamy de Fuh-Cologne"
4. Cuban cigars are legal there, but you know me, I didn't buy one, didn't smoke one, didn't even drink a Bahama Mama.
5. The Bahamas government once had their own 3-dollar bills and 15-cent coins and half-dollar bills. Not anymore.
6. Mom and I used meal bars as currency, giving them to beggars and a willing souvenir seller instead of dollars.
7. Drivers use the left (wrong) side of the road, and some cars have steering wheels on the right (wrong) side of the car, so why is the Burger King drive-thru designed for the left (correct) side of the car?
8. A free timeshare bicycle would have completely changed this vacation. We get 2 free bikes with our timeshare in Edisto Beach, but we did not get one in Freeport.
And now for the travel journal...
Woke up in Lexington to find a solid blanket of snow over everything. Scraped off my car and took it to Midas. They replaced the wheel stud and lug nut, and because I blamed them for having the lug nut on too tight after my last brake job there, they did the bolt replacement for free. I came home and packed. Bethany called before I left; I tried to make her jealous. Was on the road from 2:30 to 11, including discovering how low my oil was in Knoxville. Landed in Walterboro SC at 11 pm at the cheapest motel I could find.
Dreamed that I had a calculator that would not give correct answers for simple math.
Woke up at 6:30 and could not get back to sleep. Watched music videos; left Walterboro SC at 9:30 AM.
Crossed the Florida border on I-95 at exactly noon.
Arrived in Deltona at 2:30 PM.
Visited with Dad briefly before he left for work.
Mom picked up Grandma from an appt, and then we all went to Gma's and played canasta, my first time ever.
Watched music videos all morning, and then Dad took me to the driving range to hit a bucket of golf balls. I did really, really well, with Dad's lessons.
Back at the crib, Dad cooked us little steaks for lunch and went to work.
Mom dropped me off at the library while she worked out at the YMCA, and I checked out a screenwriting book for the trip.
Returned to the house. Cheryl and Brian came over, picked me up, took me to Seminole Towne Center mall.
I bought our dinner at Ruby Tuesday.
Little bit of store walking / shopping, then back to home base to settle down, chat, say goodbye to Cheryl, watch TV.
Woke up to a "Pachelbel's Canon" alarm I had set on Mom's cell phone. She had already gotten up, hours before.
Once I finished packing, Mom and I went to the Orlando airport and checked in.
We went to security line, where I was randomly selected for a PATDOWN SEARCH, whoa.
Flew to Miami, hiked all around the terminal to see our lunch options,
ate at California Pizza Kitchen in food court.
Then we went up to the 7th floor of the attached hotel to try to get a good view of Miami but scrapped that idea when I found some PCs for free websurfing.
When we were about to leave, I called Cheryl and Dad from the airplane shuttle bus, using Mom's cell phone.
A propeller plane took us to Grand Bahama Island, and I got my new passport stamped for the first time.
We took a taxi to our resort and checked in and did inventory.
I went on a resort-organized trip to the Winn Dixie, with other timeshare owners, to get milk/juice/soda. The cashier was terrible at ringing in prices, but while some prices were way too much, I think the end total was in my favor.
Back at unit 303, Mom realized that she lost her passport, so she searched EVERYTHING while I sat back and did soduko puzzles and watched TV. After Mom went to bed, the Bahamas police showed up and got Mom up to ask her about the passport situation.
Woke up to Bahamas sunshine. vegged in front of TV for a few hours; attended "orientation" which was nothing more than a tour salesman describing tours. Mom and I then walked to and through the International Bazaar, which was mostly deserted because it's Sunday. We kept walking north, downtown, seeing the closed library, post office, etc. Took the bus back "home." Our airport taxi driver called to say he has Mom's passport, and he wants $20 to deliver it to her. Mom told him no, that he should take it to immigration instead. Then Mom and I took a shuttle bus to Island Seas Resort, where I swam in the ocean (and had the ocean to myself). We sat in the jacuzzi, too, before going back. I cooked pasta shells and sauce for dinner. Lots of TV.
Note: I had brought a light jacket but never wore it. To keep the sun off my arms, I decided instead to wear the long-sleeved, white dress shirt you see in the photos.
LONG, LONG WALK with Mom, starting at Island Seas beach. Mom and I went east across the beach but could not cross a little inlet w/o soaking our stuff, so we walked miles of perimeter road back to the beach on the other side of the inlet. Better waves over there, and more people! Shopping at Port Lucaya Marketplace: I got a lot of postcards and "champagne soda" and a Sunday paper. Paid $18 for a sport shirt, too, yikes. We rode the bus back; I stepped off downtown, went to the library, walked home. Mom had stayed on the bus and was at the mercy of the driver, who kept her on for another 2 hours while he took schoolkids around the island. Our night was just about recovering/vegging, cooking a little, watching TV a lot.
Missed all the morning shuttles to the beach, so I walked due south and explored other beaches. Heading east (toward the Island Seas base) required me to swim across an inlet, so I made a raft out of scrap wood to keep my shirts dry. Collected some impressive shells. Stopped to swim where I saw big waves. Finished walking to Island Seas resort: swam in their section of the ocean a little more, soaked in their hot tub, sat by their pool to dry off, used their fitness room to kill time, and showed off my shells to French-Canadians and Germans I met. Rode the shuttle bus back and watched TV until bedtime. At 20h45, immigration brought Mom's passport to her.
Mom and I walked downtown and back, for several reasons:
(1) I wanted to take pictures of Freeport.
(2) Mom wanted to buy stuff.
(3) We both wanted to mail off a handful of postcards.
(4) I wanted to check my email in the cybercafe.
We had lunch at a local restaurant; I ate a dish of "corned beef and grits" while Mom ate their "peas and rice." At the local library's display of seashells, I learned that I had picked up a seabiscuit. After many hours of relaxing on the couch, Mom and I went to the Taino Beach Fish Fry for food, including conch cakes* and guava duff, and dancing. We had prepaid our round trip taxi fare but got milked on the return trip by a taxi who apparently knew to show up at the exact time our return taxi was supposed to show up.
* Now that I've had conch, I want more. It's tasty and sweet and tasty.
Mom and I took an early shuttle to Island Seas then spent several hours walking along the coastline picking up shells. We came back to our timeshare, Island Resort, at 2, so that I could eat lunch and drop off the collected shells. Then I took the 3:00 shuttle to Island Seas again to do a few more ocean things. Returned "home." Mom did laundry; I swam in our resort's heated pool. While we watched TV, Dad called for a good chat. After the phone call, Mom and I were powerless against the hypnotic pull of TV, TV, TV.
Mom stayed in; I went out. Took a bus to Port Lucaya, where I (1) walked along the beach, taking lots of pix and mini-movies, and (2) shopped for postcards and shot glasses in Port Lucaya Marketplace. Took the bus back to the timeshare and had lunch. Took the 3 o'clock shuttle to Island Seas for one last swim in the ocean; since today was cooler and breezier than before, I had the ocean to myself again. Chatted with strangers in the hot tub, guys from VA and a woman from NY. Shuttle back for dinner, TV, and packing up. Our week is pretty much over now!
Mom and I packed up everything and tidied up the timeshare. Our original itinerary had us leaving Freeport in the afternoon, but once we turned in our hotel keys, we were stuck with our luggage and decided to go to the airport early to get on standby for an earlier flight to Miami. Success at 11:20 a.m. Flew to Miami on a flight that also included crew members from the Bahamas shoot of Pirates of Caribbean II and III (no celebs). Killed a few hours in the Miami airport, including trying to hack into the same hotel Internet system I'd used before, to no avail. We got on standby again and grabbed the 4 pm flight from Miami to Orlando. Driving back to Deltona house, we stopped at Cheryl's place in Winter Springs to visit her, Dad's work in Sanford to visit him, and Grandma's place in Deltona to visit her. At the parental palace, I separated all of my stuff from Mom's stuff and went to bed.
Drove to Kentucky, duh.
return to the Brett Bugle